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Xena: Choose Your own Adventure #2
|CHAPTER #19 ----- THE FESTIVAL OF HERCULES||
H = 23, X = 20
"Let's go right," Gabrielle suggested. They both needed a break, and maybe they could find Hercules to catch up on things.
"Sure," Xena was thinking the exact same thing.
The road they traveled on looked like many people had recently come down it. Xena smiled at the thought that Hercules was letting his name be praised. They traveled for about three miles, and Gabrielle was getting tired. They had said hello to other travelers a few times, especially the ones who had carts. Gabrielle thought of asking them if they could get a ride, but she knew Xena would not be happy with that. Gabrielle always joked that Xena had a reputation to uphold. Not "The Princess Who Needed A Ride".
"Can we stop for a while?" Gabrielle pleaded. Xena grinned.
"Why? I'm not tired," Xena joked.
"Please, I-" Gabrielle was interrupted.
A scream echoed off in the distance.
Xena stopped and pulled out her chakrum, ready for an ambush. The scream was alone, and it echoed off in the distance.
"That could have come from anywhere, Xena," Gabrielle pointed out, not wanting to go back.
Xena didn't reply, she just stood there, frowning.
"The valley is filled with caves on the edge of those cliffs. You're right, it could have come from miles from here," Xena didn't put her chakrum away. She walked alongside Gabrielle, leading Argo slowly through the dense forest. They traveled the rest of the way in silence. Gabrielle felt bad. What if the scream came from someone who really needed help? She tried to shake it off.
Before long, Gabrielle and Xena both heard cheering and shouting. This time, music accompanied the shouts.
"Hey! There's Hercules!" Gabrielle said as they looked at the enormous field. There were colorful flags, dancing, unrecognizable foods, and Hercules. He stood on a stage -right in the middle - looking embarrassed. Xena followed Gabrielle through the crowds, walking casually over to the middle stage.
"Hercules!" Gabrielle waved to the muscular man.
Hercules walked to the edge of the stage, all smiles. He saw Gabrielle first, and waved, then he looked at Xena, and gave the Warrior Princess a huge grin.
Xena hopped up on stage and hugged Hercules.
"Hey!" an angry-looking man with a spear pointed his weapon at Xena. "Back up!"
"It's all right, she's with me. So is the blond," Hercules said defensively. The man nodded, apologized, and backed up, returning to his station. Xena grinned. "Bodyguards? Never thought I'd see the day," she laughed. Gabrielle spoke up behind the two. "Should I ask what possessed this people? I mean, no offense, Hercules, but why would they put a festival up in your honor? It's not your style."
Hercules just laughed. "It wasn't exactly my idea-" he was interrupted by a short man with a gray beard and a tacky outfit.
"I'll take the credit, thank you!" the man said proudly, smiling.
"Salmoneus," Xena said, stressing the first syllable of the man's name.
"Xena! Gabrielle! Like my idea? I actually made money this time!" the man stood even prouder.
"Don't let your head get too big," Gabrielle smirked, leaning on her staff, her feet throbbing.
"Hey! The idea worked great. The slogan was extremely catchy: 'Want to meet the strongest man in the world? Want to meet the son of a god? Come to The Festival of Hercules, sponsored by Salmoneus - totally non-profit'. How do you like it?" Salmoneus beamed.
Xena pursed her lips. "How much did you make?" she asked.
"Make? I told you! It was non-profit!"
"Uhhh... a few hundred dinars."
"Hey! I offered Hercules twenty-five percent, but he refused it!" Hercules looked at Salmoneus and rolled his eyes. He turned back to Xena.
"He told me that all profits were going to help that village down the road, the one that got burnt down," Hercules explained.
"What village?" Xena asked, getting a knot in her stomach.
"The one with the centaurs. Half the people died," Hercules said.
Xena's eyes went wide.
"Solan..." she whispered. Gabrielle immediately spoke up.
"Let's go, then!" she ordered. Xena looked at Hercules. Hercules raised his eyebrows in question.
If Xena asks Hercules to come with him, go to chapter #38.
If Xena and Gabrielle go by themselves to the village, go to chapter #39.